4 Lazy Ways to a Faster Metabolism

Speed up your metabolism without even moving. Here's how. By Jessica Girdwain, REDBOOK.

Have a chocolate stash.

In a study from the University of California, San Diego--a.k.a. our favorite study ever--researchers found that eating chocolate frequently was associated with a lower body mass index. In fact, people who ate five servings of chocolate per week weighed roughly five to seven pounds less than chocolate abstainers. The researchers explain that antioxidants found in cocoa called polyphenols may enhance metabolic function. To reap the benefits without a caloric downside, keep your fix to about an ounce a day. No food scale? Lay a credit card over your average chocolate bar; that's your portion.

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Just sip something.
Here's a reason to obey your thirst: "When you're dehydrated, cellular functions slow down and your metabolism starts to get pokey," says Lauren Schmitt, a registered dietitian in Los Angeles. Yes, you can slim down just by drinking up. "People who down eight cups of water daily burn 100 calories more each day than those who drink four cups or less," says Schmitt. Any nonalcoholic decaffeinated liquid will do the trick.

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Lower your thermostat by 2 degrees.
When you're a little bit cold, your body has to work to generate heat to warm itself. One recent study found that people who spent time in a chilly room boosted calorie burn by 80 percent. "Cold temperatures flip on the switch that makes your body burn calories like a furnace," says Scott Isaacs, M.D., an endocrinologist in Atlanta. You don't need to sit there shivering: "Turning the thermostat down just a couple degrees can help you burn 100 additional calories a day."

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Sleep it off.
A single night of less sleep than the recommended seven to nine hours causes your resting metabolism to dip by about 5 percent the next day, says a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "Sleep loss induces widespread hormonal changes that pump up the amount of ghrelin--the hormone that triggers appetite--in your body and dial down your metabolism," explains study coauthor Christian Benedict, Ph.D. Conk out a little earlier for a better body, mood, everything.

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